january 2014 026 january 2014 022

Grey,wet  and  horrible,  not quite what I  had hoped for my first day back . However   I did find some real gems.  Melianthus major and Viburnam bodnantense  Dawn in what was a rare blue sky moment.    My mantra  continues to be   ” I love being a gardener ”  only occasionally through gritted teeth, it can sound more like “keep on going  Sal, mind over matter..”

march 2013 021

Several   gardens have disappeared for a  winter  break .   In one respect I   quite like leaving gardens to their own devices for a month or two.    However I know  I will be unable to contain myself and will need to pop in, the  thought of missing snowdrops, cyclamen,  or crocus and the odd dinosaur would be  sacrilege.  

december   2013 105

I  thoroughly admit to enjoying  a spot of  heavy-duty winter pruning.  My R.H.S. pruning guide is never far from my side – it is an indispensible book .  I  possess two copies – one  for home and a  mud encrusted one for practical day use.

december   2013 296

Gardening  during Winter provides  the opportunity to  alter  borders.    As I prune, lop and saw  it helps to clarify   my future horticultural intentions.   This year  I  fully intend to make wide  linear  spaces that will wind their way right through and around  as many borders as I can,  then to fill those spaces  with massive bands of colour coordinated hardy annuals.   Top of my contender list at the moment  are  hardy annual poppies – in particular Ladybird , Blackcurrant Fizz, and   Corn Poppy mixed with  Scabiosa atropurpurea Ace of Spades .   To top this the perennial  Knautica macedonia  with its long lasting deep purple pin cushion head like flowers  will  hopefully look stunning whilst the annuals are forming their flower heads.  

july    2013 133

 In addition winter gardening  provides the opportunity to re- find  all those perennials that I thought would  add something , only to find that they had been  squashed out by the giant perennials that I love to use.   My  main contenders for squashing  are   Cephalaria  gigantica, Achillea  millifolium, Acanthus spinosus ,  Globe Artichokes, and  Helianthus Lemon Queen.      It is my full intention this year  to move  smaller plants to places where they too can have their time to look and be magnificent.   Geum Lemon Drops is one that springs to mind, it is a delight to the eye – well that is when I have provided it with  sufficient space to be seen and heard.

I saw some great seeds  – Helianthus laetiflorus and Helianthus maximillani  last night in my  Thompson and Morgan catalogue, along with some  fantastic  looking black flowers    –  Lisianthus nigresens.   My little black note-book is filling fast with potential inclusions.   I  just need to curb my enthusiasm for propagation .   I have not even started to think about veg and salad yet for 2014 – better make it a round 50 to  sow.   I am also rather partial to the Sarah Raven  catalogue   and Nickys Seeds .

I  realise that I do tend to use the word  “love” a great deal whilst writing.   So checking  my Oxford English Dictionary and Roget  thesaurus I am looking and thinking about new ways to describe how being a gardener makes me feel.   Apart from loving it , sometimes it is wet, and has the capacity to make me shout out loud –  particularly when I have pinged myself with a twig,  or fallen into a large shrub rose.  It is mainly  a completely joyous  and  serotonious experience ( I have checked the dictionary and suprisingly serotonious  does not exist – well not till now any way..)  Sometimes gardening for me at least is beyond physical words,   I just love it. .

I  hope  that  whatever your size of garden, whether it runs farther than the eye can see, or is a postage stamp balcony, or window cill that you all have a brilliant and adventurous  gardening 2014, whatever you do, just enjoy, you might even get to love it.